Meditation has been proven to be a treatment for depression, anxiety, and can even help the body heal faster physically. With all these benefits of meditation and the deep focus it cultivates, it is no wonder meditation is extremely effective in quieting mental chatter.
The Default Mode
The default mode network is the part of the brain that activates when the mind wanders when there is no longer a task at hand demanding all of its attention. It is related to mental chatter that commonly happens when the mind is at rest.
In this study, meditators were compared to a control group to look at the DMN. Typically it is the most active at rest. You may have noticed this after you have finished a long task and go to relax only to find suddenly your mind picks up and bounces around.
The results showed that during meditation the DMN had significantly reduced activity in comparison to the controls who were relaxing. The study has even shown that when meditators were given the same task (to relax) as the controls their DMN was less active as well.
This begins to suggest that practicing meditation can shift the behavioral and mental states an individual enters into even outside of meditation! This is no surprise due to other studies (which you can read about here) we know that meditation can extensively restructure and even thicken our brain.
What You Need To Know Before Getting Started
When you sit down to meditate with the goal of quieting the mind’s excessive rambling, it may seem like it isn’t the right treatment when the first thing you notice is that it becomes louder.
Yes, when you bring all of your focus inwards when your mind is busy you will at first become more increasingly aware of it. This awareness is part of the process. One way to clam the mind is through acknowledgment of its business which is separate from attachment.
When you notice mental business just notice, do not label it as good or bad and do not place an urgency upon quieting it. The mind thrives off of attention.
If you allow thoughts to be there but stay focused upon a single point such as your breath or an object, then your mental chatter becomes background noise. Try this guided meditation to find focus!
Practice Makes Perfect
Another important thing to know before you get started is that when we say your meditation practice, know that it really is a practice.
As you get acquainted with your inner landscape and gain control of staying centered no matter what thoughts or feelings arise you will find it becomes easier and easier to quiet mental chatter.
As you first start you may find meditation is like teaching a child, except that child is your monkey mind. Some days it will listen, while other days your monkey mind may be jumping off the walls and screaming endless incomplete thoughts.
As you build a relationship with your mind you will become more able to be less deeply affected by its ever-changing states and you will become more skilled in directing it to the state you desire.
Remember this when you start to feel overwhelmed by thoughts during your meditation and allow yourself to remain objective to the process which will help guide these thoughts to pass rather than stay around and be amplified.
If you are wondering why mental focus is so beneficial found out why here!